Review of Employee Voice and Leadership

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Review of Leadership behaviour and employee voice

Detert and Burris (2007) (henceforth referred to as authors) have carried out a quantitative research to investigate the relationship between two types of change-oriented leadership (managerial openness and transformational leadership) and the employee voice. Through their research they have also studied the effect of psychological safety and employee performance on the relationship between leadership style and voice behaviour.

Theoretical framework and hypothesis

In the competitive and fast changing business environment, employee voice can play an important role in steering the future of the organisation in right direction (Van Dyne and LePine 1998:109). Various researches on the “employee voice” (LePine and Van Dyne 1998:854) show that “employees weigh the advantages of speaking up against the risks and they decide to speak only when the advantages outweigh the risks” (Detert and Burris 2007:870). There are various factors, which influence this risk assessment like, psychological safety, personality differences and organisational contexts. This study focuses on organisational contexts, specifically the change oriented leadership behaviour. This is because based on their characteristics, “organisation leaders have the authority to reward as well as punish the employees for their voice behaviour” (Detert and Burris 2007:870). Authors have picked up specifically two aspects of change-oriented leadership: transformational leadership and managerial openness. Being a deductive study, authors have formulated four hypothesises. “managerial openness is positively related to the voice behaviour”, “transformational leadership is positively related to employee voice”, and “psychological safely mediates the relationship between leadership behaviour and the employee voice” and “employee performance mediates the relationship between the change oriented leadership and the employee voice.” (Detert and Burris 2007:870)

Research methodology

There are many existing qualitative research exploring the issue of employee voice (Milliken et al., Saunders et al. cited in Detert and Burris 2007:870) but there are not that many quantitative researches. A few available quantitative researches did not produce consistent results (Ashford et al; Saunders; Janssen and Cozijnsen cited in Detert and Burris 2007:870). To address this issue, authors carried out a two-phased quantitative research on the employees and managers of a chain of dining restaurant. They used self-administered questionnaire for data collection using crossectional research design. They also collected longitudinal data to further cement their findings. For the first study they sent questionnaire to all the crew members of the restaurant. The response rate was 63%. To measure the variables like leadership styles, psychological safely and employee voices various standard measures were used. Alternative explanation for the voice behaviour was accounted for by collecting the data about personality, demography, gender, tenure, job type, job satisfaction etc. Bivariate analysis was used to work out the correlation between various variables and multi level analysis was used to obtain quantitative information on more complex relationships. For second study, samples were collected from shift managers and the general managers of shift managers. Taking sample over 10 month duration collected longitudinal data. Usable response rate was 26%. Measurement and analysis methods similar to the first study were used for data collection and analysis.

Results summary

Analysis of the data collected from the first study, showed that both managerial openness and transformational leadership were positively related to the employee voice, confirming hypothesis 1 and 2. Further analysis of the data and Sobel test showed that psychological safely mediates the relationship between leadership behaviour and the employee voice, confirming...
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